Review: Forty Acres by Dwayne Alexander Smith

20140321-194407.jpgAs much as I love reading with every fiber of my being, I’ll be the first to admit that the majority of my reading choices don’t lean towards the very deep or especially thought-provoking. This one was a complete departure from that typical experience.

Martin Grey is an up and coming lawyer who has everything going for him. He and his best friend own their own rising law firm. He has a beautiful wife he adores. And he’s just won the biggest case of his career. Now he’s asked to become part of the club-a group of elite, prestigious men who also happen to all be black. In fact, that’s a requirement for acceptance into this secret group. In a twisted attempt at avenging the crimes committed against their ancestors, these pillars of society have reversed the roles of slavery. At a hidden compound deep in the forest, they are the masters and abducted Caucasian men and women are the slaves. Although Martin is horrified by what he discovers, he quickly realizes that simply walking away is not an option. These men will stop at nothing to preserve their twisted secret. Will Martin survive?

Forty Acres was such an emotional, thought-provoking book for me that I had to let it simmer in my heart and soul for a few days before even attempting to write a review. I knew I wanted to say great things about this story, but at the same time I wanted to make sure my words did the story justice. The content is sure to stir up some controversy, and that alone is a good enough reason to add this one to your next book club list. It forces the reader to ask deep questions of both their own feelings and those of our society in general. Have we come as far in the area of equal rights as we’d like to believe? Is there justification in feeling slighted because of the actions of people from previous generations? And can we truly ever say that the past is behind us? For me personally the answer is no. This book reminds us that there is always danger in letting ourselves forget the sins of the past. Grab this one and settle in for quite a ride!

~Thalia

Buy it Now: Forty Acres: A Thriller

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Review: The Saint, by Tiffany Reisz

01saint I love The Original Sinners series. I really do. At first I wasn’t sure how I felt about them, but they totally grew on me. And after the first four books, I was totally satisfied with how it ended. As if you don’t know, I love saucy books. So when Tiffany said that she was going to write about Nora’s time, before she was a Domme, I wasn’t all that interested. I’ll admit, I was worried there would be no sauce, or maybe just light sauce. Silly me. This is Tiffany Reisz we’re talking about!! I don’t think she could write a light sauce book, if her life depended on it.

Synopsis
In the beginning, there was him.

Gutsy, green-eyed Eleanor never met a rule she didn’t want to break. She’s sick of her mother’s zealotry and the confines of Catholic school, and declares she’ll never go to church again. But her first glimpse of beautiful, magnetic Father Søren Stearns and his lust-worthy Italian motorcycle is an epiphany. Suddenly, daily Mass seems like a reward, and her punishment is the ache she feels when they’re apart. He is intelligent and insightful and he seems to know her intimately at her very core. Eleanor is consumed—and even she knows that can’t be right.

But when one desperate mistake nearly costs Eleanor everything, it is Søren who steps in to save her. She vows to repay him with complete obedience…and a whole world opens before her as he reveals to her his deepest secrets.

Danger can be managed—pain, welcomed. Everything is about to begin.

Now if you read the first four books, you’ll know some of what happens in this book already. But there is sooo much we never knew.

Let me start out by saying that Tiffany is a genius. This book showed us why Nora needed Søren so much and why she immediately was drawn to him. In all honesty, she broke my heart. Her feelings of not being wanted, made me so very sad. I think part of me needed to read this book. I could never wrap my head around how they could together, with such a large age difference, or even how they connected when she was a teenager. Part of me thought that was just weird. But after this, I realized, it was just right.

“Have you ever had a dream feel so real that upon waking you thought you were still asleep? He took her hand in his.

“Once or twice.”

“I felt like that the moment I saw you, Little One. I dreamed you once. I think I’m still dreaming.”

While this book gave a lot of insight, it packed a lot of emotion as well. I was on the verge of tears the entire book. But I didn’t understand why. There was one part of the story that she kept coming back to and just made it worse. By the end of the book I was a wreck. I don’t remember crying in her other books as much as I did in this one. She kept us on the edge of our seats the whole time.

And now, of course, I’m am dying for the next one. There are quite a few more stories that Nora needs to share with us.

~Melpomene

Buy The Saint: The Original Sinners Book 5

Get caught up with the Red Years

The Siren: The Original Sinners Book 1

The Angel: The Original Sinners Book 2

The Prince: The Original Sinners Book 3

The Mistress: The Original Sinners Book 4

Review: Until We Touch by Susan Mallery

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I fell in love with Fool’s Gold a while back, and the Score crew was a big reason why. Until We Touch focuses big time on Score – especially on cutie Larissa. She will do anything for an animal or a person in need… And Score partner Jack McGarry will always come running to help.

I’m not a huge animal person, but Larissa is, and her compulsion to rescue animals totally worked. If you love fur babies, you’ll sympathize and have some tender I-heart-animal moments. And if you don’t, you’ll just appreciate Larissa’s generous heart — like I did. In this book, Larissa helps plenty of animals, but she also makes a big difference in the life of a young adult… And reels in Jack for assistance.

So. The love story. It’s a slow build-up, then some good fireworks, then some bad fireworks. The awesome thing about loving someone is that it’s about the actions, not the feelings. Larissa and Jack already act like they love each other! It’s only when the words and feelings are brought to the surface that trouble arises.

I liked that Larissa was a little naive here. It fits her personality and brought me back to “stupid things I did while in my 20s” – hah! And I liked that Jack was wonderful except for the time he was a completely big jerk and I could’ve just pushed him with two open palms and said WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU?!

The best part about a perfect hero who makes a gigantic stupid mistake is watching him make up for it. The apologies were worth the anguish, they really were.

As for the updates on other characters: Taryn’s wedding planning was enjoyable, and I liked the fun closure to Sam’s love life. Mayor Marsha brought upheaval and some new guests to town… and the local businesses were thriving. Read it. You’ll see – and love it – for yourself.

By the way, I read Until We Touch on the beach. My daughter looked at me from the edge of the ocean, rolled her eyes, and said, “There’s mom, crying again over a book.”

Yup. You betchya. Tears of sadness, tears of joy. That’s a successful read.

-Calliope

buy UNTIL WE TOUCH

Review and Giveaway: Five Ways to Fall, by K.A.Tucker

00011 I have enjoyed this series so much. I am very sad to see it end. It seems like I just started reading these, and yet, it seems like I’ve been waiting forever for Ben’s story. I have loved him from the way back in the first book, Ten Tiny Breaths. I knew he was special. Even though he was a bouncer at a strip club, there was way more to him than he was showing or telling.

Trouble maker, Reese MacKay, makes one wrong choice after another. And this time, it’s no exception. Too much Mr. Cuervo has turned her world upside down. Little does she know that her short lived marriage wouldn’t be the tipping point of her life.

Synopsis:

Sometimes you can’t change—and sometimes you just don’t want to. Discover Ben’s side of the story in this fourth novel by the beloved, top-selling indie author of Ten Tiny Breaths, One Tiny Lie, and Four Seconds to Lose.

Purple-haired, sharp-tongued Reese MacKay knows all about making the wrong choice; she’s made plenty of them in her twenty-odd-years. So when her impulsive, short-lived marriage ends in heartbreak, she decides it’s time for a change. She moves to Miami with the intention of hitting reset on her irresponsible life, and she does quite well…aside from an epically humiliating one-night stand in Cancun with a hot blond bouncer named Ben. Thank God she can get on a plane and leave that mistake behind her.

Football scholarship and frat parties with hot chicks? Part of charmer Ben Morris’s plan. Blown knee that kills any hope of a professional football career? So not part of the plan. Luckily Ben has brains to go with his knockout looks and magnetism. After three long years of balancing law school with his job as a bouncer at Penny’s Palace, he’s ready to lead a more mature life—until his first day of work, when he finds himself in the office of that crazy, hot chick he met in Cancun. The one he hasn’t stopped thinking about.

If Ben truly were a smart guy, he’d stay clear of Reese. She’s the boss’s stepdaughter and it’s been made very clear that office romances are grounds for dismissal. Plus, rumor has it she’s trouble. The only problem is, he likes trouble, especially when it’s so good-looking…

Ben is my absolute favorite character out of all of this entire series. He is the sweetest mam’s boy, who can charm the pants off a nun. After seeing his parent’s marriage struggle, he really doesn’t want to get involved with anyone. But once he Reese catches his eye, he falls fast. But he can’t really do anything about it, or he risks losing his job. But he just might be willing to take that risk.

I do have a certain love for Reese also. I think it’s the hair. 😉 She has lived with the fact that she isn’t good enough for her momma or her cheating ex. Her heart almost can’t take any more pain. She seriously tugged my heart. She doesn’t wanna fall for Ben, the man whore, but you don’t always get what you want.

This book can be read and a standalone, but I highly recommend you start from the beginning. You can see the entire dynamics of all the characters as they intertwine throughout the books.

~Melpomene

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Buy Five Ways to Fall: A Novel

Start at the beginning:
Ten Tiny Breaths: A Novel

One Tiny Lie: A Novel

Four Seconds to Lose: A Novel

Pre-order the novella, In Her Wake: A Ten Tiny Breaths Novella, which is from Trent’s POV.

Review: Changing Forever, by Lisa De Jong

01cha

“They say you should dream like you’ll live forever, and live like you’ll die tomorrow.”

If you read When It Rains, you’ll understand why I was very nervous going into this book. VERY nervous. When It Rains was one of the most tear spilling books I’ve ever read. But thankfully this one wasn’t like that. I doubt my heart could take any more. Lisa said that this one was, “the creme in the oreo…it’s the sweet spot before you get to the other chocolate cookie(Living With Regret).” Good for this one, bad for the next. But we have time to prepare. While this is the second in the series, it can be a standalone.

Synopsis
I’ve always let my past dictate my future, letting it paint a picture of exactly what I don’t want to be. Where I don’t want to end up.

Drake Chambers is as arrogant as I am stubborn. A college quarterback, a national star. I thought he was just another one of those guys … the type every girl should stay away from, but he’s carrying more than the weight of the football team on his shoulders.

He unravels the feelings and beliefs I’ve held onto for so long.

I thought we had it all figured out. Two people who’d finally found their happily ever after, but the past always has a way of sneaking into the present.

With one decision, everything changes … forever.

Emery had her whole life mapped out. She knew what she wanted to be and she knew how to get it. So she wasn’t in the mood to deal with a super cocky football player, no matter what he looks like. He may be her partner in class, but that’s all. She has no time for distractions.

Drake Chambers, was a super hot jock, that everyone though had life in the palm of his hand. He seemed to work hard and play harder. But no one know what’s really happening with him. His life isn’t nearly as perfect as everyone thinks. So when he’s paired up with a cute girl from speech, he finds himself trying to distance himself from her. He has no time for distractions.

But soon life seems to push these two together and they can’t seem to stop the momentum, no matter how hard they try.

He’s nitrate, and I’m acid. We’re testing the limits, waiting for the explosion, but neither of us can stop.

But eventually it all comes crashing down and them and this is where the angst comes in. And I do mean ANGST! A plot twist that gutted me. And of course, the groveling wasn’t nearly enough, in my eyes. But I just had to hold on and hope these two get it straightened out. Even if I wanted to reach in and smack them both upside their heads. But nooooo, we had to suffer right along with them.

“There are two versions of forever: the one I dreamed of every day as a kid, and the one I made my own after the old dreams faded away. The old dreams weren’t meant to be, but this one is. You’re my forever. I just had to take a few wrong turns to find you, and now that I have, I never want to live with out you.”

~Melpomene

Buy Changing Forever (Rains Standalone Book 2)

Buy When It Rains

Review: The Promise by Robyn Carr

20140623-230542-83142578.jpg Robyn Carr, you’ve done it! You’ve created a Thunder Point novel that I fell in love with, just as I fell in love with the Virgin River books. The Promise was SO satisfying. From the small-town doctor’s office to the big-time ex-boyfriend cardiologist, from the romantic tension between widower Scott and newcomer Peyton to the comfortable companionship of Carrie and Rawley, I was completely taken by The Promise.

I was glad Carr took the time to give me her usual update on characters from past books, and even happier that this installment centered on a romantic relationship or two. Or three. I was pleasantly surprised to find Rawley making a move … And making no apologies for it!

Some of the most fun parts to read were of Peyton’s visits to her family farm. I could feel her joy and relief when she stepped foot on the property: a place of safety, respite, love, and dancing! Peyton’s family was warm and embracing, a lovely counterpart to the misunderstandings and dilemmas facing Peyton. And the food… Ohmygoodness my mouth was watering. I wasn’t even hungry and I was jonesing for a fresh baked baguette, olive oil, and just-picked tomatoes.

The Promise really has it all: food, family, fun, love … oh! and two new babies. Irresistible. I’ll read it again unless Book 6 is waiting in the wings.

Ms. Carr? Possible publish date for book 6? Hello?

-Calliope

buy THE PROMISE

Review: Our Happy Time by Gong Ji-young

ourhappytime***This book will be released in the USA on July 1, 2014***

Wow. This was a gem of a read for me. I am so glad I stumbled across this novel. If I were the type to read book descriptions I would have more than likely passed. This is a novel that has strong religious tones. The exact type of novel I avoid. However, this was so much more. This is a novel about acceptance. Acceptance not only of others, but also yourself. It’s a story about finding oneself. It’s a story about looking beyond your past and trying to imagine a future. A future where you find the strength to want to go on. It’s also about forgiveness. Of asking for it, and of accepting it as well. There is just so much contained within these covers of this book.

I really admire Gong Ji-young for not taking this book and trying to turn it into a prettily wrapped happily ever after book, although the reader will surely wish for this to book to end happily. I’m not saying there isn’t a HEA, I’m just saying that sometimes just getting though another day must be enough. As Ji-young points out more than once, “instead of saying you want to die, you should instead be saying you want to live better”.

Here you have a young, beautiful, affluential woman. She’s a professor, a world traveler and a past singing sensation. She comes from a *perfect* family. However, we find out throughout the story that she has not really bothered to enjoy life or to even live for the last 15 years. The woman the world sees couldn’t be further from whom the woman actually is.

As this point the young woman joins her Aunt, a nun, to weekly prison visits of a man on death row. This man makes no excuses for what he has done. He does not deny anything.

All of a sudden both the woman and the man are forced to see the world though someone else’s eyes. Once this occurs, there is no turning back. Suddenly, one must realise that no matter how alone you have felt your entire life, there are others out there in the world as well. Suddenly you must realise that if continue to focus on only yourself and your experiences…well, you are missing out on everyone else’s experiences.

Ji-young has some real zingers of some quotes in this book. Some of what she wrote had a profound effect on me.

This is one book that I won’t be forgetting anytime soon. I won’t forget the characters. I won’t forget the quotes. And I certainly won’t be forgetting the the feelings she evoked or the message that I received. I hope you give this book a chance and feel the same….I so loved it…

Until next time….

Urania xx

ARC provided by NetGalley for an honest review.

Buy it now Our Happy Time by Gong Ji-young